New witnesses have come forward who say 13-year-old Russell Evans was murdered seven years ago in Spokane.
Based on their statements, the boy’s parents believe they’ve identified gang members who may have carried out the killing with clubs and a car.
John and Sue Evans, joined by private investigator Sandy Brewer, said Thursday they have identified additional witnesses who have come forward since a news story was published in Tuesday’s Spokesman-Review.
They also have identified a possible vehicle used in the killing.
The Evans family is posting $5,000 reward posters throughout the city, hoping to solve the case.
Police maintain the teenager was a hit-and-run victim, but haven’t ruled out other possibilities.
One newly identified witness says Evans was run over with a car after being clubbed by a youth gang, apparently seeking revenge, Brewer told reporters Thursday.
Standing near their son’s grave in Holy Cross Cemetery, the boy’s parents and Brewer played a tape recording from another witness interviewed a few months ago.
“I ended up killing that boy last night,” the witness says, quoting one of the suspected killers. Brewer didn’t divulge the identify or whereabouts of the witness or others she’s located.
Brewer said she is willing to share the newly developed information with police investigators, but hasn’t heard from them after this week’s media coverage of the case.
“I only hope they are not being constrained by financial, personnel or other limitations,” the private investigator said.
John Evans said he’s angry and puzzled by the lack of response he’s seen from the criminal justice system.
Prosecutor Jim Sweetser won’t return their telephone calls, Evans and Brewer said.
A deputy prosecutor previously said police investigators have not come to the prosecutor’s office seeking an arrest warrant.
Sweetser was provided a copy of the witness’ statement on Thursday but didn’t comment on its contents.
Police apparently don’t believe they have a case yet, and haven’t come to the prosecutor’s office, seeking charges, Sweetser said.
“They have extensive files and have worked very, very hard on this case,” the prosecutor said.
Evans said he merely wants a jury to decide if there was a murder.
“I don’t know whether it’s ineptness, laziness or whether they’re trying to hide something,” Evans said. “We’d sure like to know why there have been no arrests.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: WITNESS SPEAKS Here are excerpts from a taped statement by a witness claiming to be a gang member involved in the June 4, 1989, death of 13-year-old Russell Evans. A suspect involved said: ” ‘Man, you know I screwed up.’ He said, ‘I ended up killing that boy last night.’ I said, ‘What happened?’ He didn’t tell the full details. He ended up running him over…” “I remember vividly…he told me that ‘what I did was I hit him. Once I hit him, backed up and ran over him.’ He said he tried to put on like he didn’t mean to do it.” Later the group discussed an alibi: “If we see the police to go on ahead and cover for him and say that he was…with us. He had talked to me. He had told me at that moment of time. “I mean, nobody ever came and approached us, as far as an officer, police officer. Nobody came and asked us…”
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.